“Are You Gonna Be My Girl” — Jet

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Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” certainly puts the rock into raucous. So it was quite fitting that for my first full day back in a proper office after months working largely from home, it was the first song on the car radio last Tuesday as I pulled out my driveway.

At the moment, my car’s sound system is better than the sound system in my home office, as I treated myself to an upgrade when I bought my car six months or so ago. So I turned the sound up nice and loud and enjoyed that “first day of term” feeling I haven’t experienced since leaving university.

“Are You Gonna Be My Girl” is a boisterous and joyful way to re-start your working life after a long time away.

And the punk-ish, slightly anarchic, guitar-driven indie rock genre is one of my favourite musical styles at the best of times. So it did the job of opening the next chapter in my working life perfectly.

The only downside is that the lyrics are somewhat sparse…and of course that’s our main jam around here. But what lyrics there are get delivered with plenty of swagger and attitude, so even I can forgive Jet for that.

They tell the story of what I’m guessing was a late night encounter at a nightclub somewhere.

Fuelled by at least one too many beers, and no doubt egged on by his mates, a guy who should probably know better approaches a women normally well out of his league.

Even in his current state, he knows his chances of success aren’t high. So he goes for a perfunctory hard-sell right out the starting blocks…that way if he gets blown out the water at least he doesn’t waste too much time in the process…

Now I’m a guy and I don’t chat up girls in bars (or anyone else for that matter), so I’m probably not the best judge of the likely success of an approach like this.

In the business world, where I’m on much firmer foundations, it’s like the first words out a salesperson’s mouth being “ why don’t you sign this order form right now” without any idea of the terms you might be buying on.

And in the business world, whilst I wouldn’t say that never works, the odds are low. As I’m guessing they are for a similar approach in nightclubs to women you’re never met.

But our pals in Jet are nothing if not insistent. There must have been a glimmer of at least something in her eyes to make it worth pressing on…

“Are You Gonna Be My Girl” takes a turn for the worse at this point, with what I’m sure might sound like a compliment in the head of a young man who’s had too much to drink. But I’m not so sure they’ve called that right…

However, as predicted, the direct approach doesn’t work as well as our young man might have hoped.

It’s time for the target of his affection to roll out that thousand-yard stare she’s had far too many opportunities to perfect over the years…

But that’s just her sighting shot. The tables are well and truly turned now.

Although he’s been watching her hanging out with a bunch of her girlfriends most of the evening, it turns out she’s not there alone. Ouch…now he’s holed below the waterline…

But despite that, he chances his arm just one more time…it’s his final pitch to close the deal, which you might think would suggest a considerably greater investment of thought and ingenuity in his final approach than this conversation has seen up to press.

You might think that…but it’s not going to happen. Young men who’ve had too much to drink tend not to be good at thinking outside the box…

As I think we all know by now…and, apart from the young man concerned, most of us had worked this out several verses ago…the answer to the question “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” is a very definite “no”.

The door is firmly shut…although, in truth, it was never open in the first place. Our protagonist realises it’s a lost cause and shambles unsteadily back to his mates who are no doubt going to rib him mercilessly about getting blown out of the water. Honestly, young men are usually their own worst enemies…

But even though “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” is a tale of romantic desire that’s dead in the water seconds after it’s been launched on its mission, it’s great fun from start to finish.

“Are You Gonna Be My Girl” has become Jet’s signature song and has been featured in films and TV commercials aplenty down the years, perhaps most notably in an advert for Apple’s then-revolutionary iPod (link below)….you might even remember buying one of those devices to store “a thousand songs in your pocket”, as one of the best advertising tag lines of all time put it at the time.

Written by Jet members Nic Cester and Cameron Muncey, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” has more than a hint of Iggy Pop’s “Lust For Life” to it, but apparently not enough of a hint to trouble the lawyers.

I’d argue both of those superficially similar songs feel very different, but then I’m not a copyright lawyer.

“Are You Gonna Be My Girl” was, however, a big international hit for Jet, going Top 30 in the US and Top 20 in the UK back in 2004. For a bunch of Aussie rockers, Jet actually did better in the UK charts than they did in their native Australia.

Although it’s a song about some dude getting the brush-off, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” is actually a fun-packed, joyous song that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is full of sparkle.

For some positive vibes and a bit of a boogie, you won’t do much better than Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”. This is one of those songs that should be played loud enough to have people who live three streets away calling the police to complain about the noise. Please enjoy…

https://open.spotify.com/track/305WCRhhS10XUcH6AEwZk6

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Without words, it’s just a nice tune. Add words — now you’ve got a song. And songs can change your world. I write about some that changed mine.

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